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Subject-Specific League Tables and Students' Application Decisions

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  • Arnaud Chevalier
  • Xiaoxuan Jia

Abstract

Do applicants to higher education rely on expert judgement about the quality of the course when applying? Using application data across UK universities over a period of 8 years, we investigate how league tables affect prospective students’ application decisions. We use subject specific ranking rather than the commonly used institution level ranking. We find that a one standard deviation change in the subject-level ranking score of an institution is associated with on average a 4.3% increase in application numbers per faculty. This effect is particularly pronounced among faculties with the best scores, and overseas applicants. Limits to the number of applications have increased the preponderance of league tables.
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Suggested Citation

  • Arnaud Chevalier & Xiaoxuan Jia, 2016. "Subject-Specific League Tables and Students' Application Decisions," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 84(5), pages 600-620, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:manchs:v:84:y:2016:i:5:p:600-620
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/manc.12124
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Griffith, Amanda & Rask, Kevin, 2007. "The influence of the US News and World Report collegiate rankings on the matriculation decision of high-ability students: 1995-2004," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 244-255, April.
    2. Soo, Kwok Tong & Elliott, Caroline, 2010. "Does price matter? Overseas students in UK higher education," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 553-565, August.
    3. Lorraine Dearden & Emla Fitzsimons & Gill Wyness, 2011. "The Impact of Tuition Fees and Support on University Participation in the UK," CEE Discussion Papers 0126, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.
    4. Gill Wyness, 2010. "Policy changes in UK higher education funding, 1963-2009," DoQSS Working Papers 10-15, Department of Quantitative Social Science - UCL Institute of Education, University College London.
    5. Kwok Tong Soo, 2013. "Does anyone use information from university rankings?," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 21(2), pages 176-190, March.
    6. Michael Luca & Jonathan Smith, 2013. "Salience in Quality Disclosure: Evidence from the U.S. News College Rankings," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 22(1), pages 58-77, March.
    7. Chevalier, Arnaud, 2014. "Does Higher Education Quality Matter in the UK?," IZA Discussion Papers 8363, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. repec:eme:rleczz:s0147-912120140000040010 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. James Monks & Ronald G. Ehrenberg, 1999. "The Impact of US News and World Report College Rankings on Admission Outcomes and Pricing Decisions at Selective Private Institutions," NBER Working Papers 7227, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Biancardi, Daniele & Bratti, Massimiliano, 2018. "The Effect of the First Italian Research Evaluation Exercise on Student Enrolment Choices," IZA Discussion Papers 11302, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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    JEL classification:

    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions

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